Dream act

Good News from the Immigration Reform Law Institute

Alert date: 
2019-03-07
Alert body: 

Finally, the 11th circuit court accurately defined what a so called "DACA" recipient really is - an ILLEGAL ALIEN!

Read the IRLI Press Release.


 

Eleventh Circuit Rules DACA Recipients are Illegal Aliens

WASHINGTON - Today the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued the first opinion by a federal circuit court classifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients as illegal aliens. The court’s opinion, which closely tracks a friend-of-the-court brief that the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) had filed in the case, makes clear that DACA recipients are “inadmissible and thus removable” under federal law. According to the Court, their deportation has merely been “reprieved” by an Obama-era policy that “encouraged” government officials to “exercise prosecutorial discretion and focus on higher-priority cases.”

In 2016, several DACA recipients sued the Georgia higher education system, which bars aliens who are not “lawfully present” from enrolling in selective state colleges and universities, even if they otherwise qualify for admission. The students argued that they were lawfully present under federal law, which preempted state law. They also claimed that the admissions bar violated their right to equal protection, as Georgia treats aliens who are paroled into the U.S. or granted asylum as lawfully present.

The Eleventh Circuit rejected all of the students’ claims. In its brief to the court, IRLI had exhaustively shown that DACA recipients do not have “lawful presence” as defined anywhere in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The court agreed, finding that Georgia’s determination that they lacked lawful presence tracked federal law. And because the court held that DACA recipients are not lawfully present, but are illegal aliens, it did not apply “strict scrutiny” to Georgia’s admissions policy under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Instead, the court upheld the policy as rationally related to a legitimate state interest.

“This is an important decision,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “On many fronts, open borders legal groups have been using DACA recipients to try to blur the distinctions between citizen and noncitizen and between legal aliens and illegal aliens. In blurring those distinctions, they blur the very border of our country, and begin rubbing out the notion that the United States is fully a sovereign nation. Today’s decision is a major check on that effort, and I expect it will reverberate across the national legal landscape.”

The case is Estrada v. Becker, No. 17-12668 (Eleventh Circuit).


 

Oregon bill combats DACA termination, continues college tuition equity

Despite national efforts to end DACA, undocumented students in Oregon will continue to have access to tuition equity if Senate Bill 1563 passes.

Students who are not citizens have historically had to apply for "official federal identification" — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals documentation — before they can be eligible for resident tuition at public universities.

Otherwise, they have to pay non-resident or international tuition costs, which can be three or four times more than in-state tuition per year.

But since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s deferred action program was terminated in 2017, the department is no longer accepting applications.

The Oregon bill is an attempt to bridge that gap, removing the restriction from undocumented students living in the state and continuing protections put into place in Oregon years ago.

In short, it would allow these students to continue getting access to lower tuition costs, scholarships and other financial aid. 

"This is the only country, the only state and the only home they have ever known," said Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, one of the chief sponsors of the bill. "Pure and simple, they are Americans in thought, word and deed."

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, Rep. Diego Hernandez, D-Portland, and Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn, are also chief sponsors.

Courtney worked on various bills in the past that sought similar equity for undocumented students, but did not come to fruition, including Senate Bill 10 in 2003 and Senate Bill 742 in 2011. Both passed the Senate but not the House, even with bipartisan support.

However, a Tuition Equity bill was passed via House Bill 2787 in 2013. This session's bill would protect the 2013 legislation, keeping the path to college open for the same students covered before.

"I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. I didn’t know about ‘tuition equity’ or federal immigration laws, we didn’t have DACA or DREAMers," Courtney said. " And the frustration these students felt after working so hard to graduate, only to realize they would be unable to afford college."

Not much opposition was voiced at the Senate Education Committee hearing Wednesday afternoon. However, Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, requested additional stats on how many students would truly stand to benefit from the program.

The students covered by this bill must have been brought to the United States under the age of 16, are younger than 30 years old, do not pose a threat to national security or public safety and have continuously resided in the U.S. for the past five years.

Many of the education committee members, in addition to those listed as chief sponsors, are regular sponsors, including Chair Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, and Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton.

"To punish young people brought here by their undocumented parents would be wrong. It would be cruel. It would be un-American," Courtney said. "They are every bit a part of our American family.

"Let’s send Senate Bill 1563 to the Floor," he said.

The work session for the bill was held over to the next committee meeting, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. in Hearing Room C at the Capitol.

One student's story

Edith Gomez Navarrete was brought to Oregon illegally from Mexico when she was 1 year old.

She graduated high school with honors, earned Bachelor's and Masters degrees and become a fourth-grade teacher at a dual English-Spanish immersion school in Eugene.

And even though she was one of only five students in her high school class to earn a full International Baccalaureate Diploma, she still faced many obstacles accessing higher education.

In 2012, Gomez Navarrete was accepted to Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, but was told she would have to pay international student tuition — close to $30,000 a year.

She was already living on her own and supporting herself. She said it would have been impossible to pay $120,000 for an undergraduate degree plus living costs.

"Undocumented students are ineligible for most scholarships, no matter how hard we work or how strong our academic record because the minimum documentation requirement is permanent residency," she said.

Gomez Navarrete shared her story when testifying at the hearing Wednesday.

She was able to access a school's Tuition Equity program and earn some scholarships as well, but could not access federal aid as an undocumented student.

"Without Tuition Equity, there was truly no possible chance we could ever pay for college," she said. "All we want is an opportunity."

In high school, Gomez Navarrete heard from many friends who saw no sense in even completing high school, because college seemed unattainable. Many dropped out.

"Look what happened when I had the opportunity," she said. "When we talk about the need to diversify Oregon’s teaching force so we can better reach all kids – they are talking about me."

While not all people who are undocumented at Latino, and not all Latino people are undocumented, there is a persistent educational achievement gap for Latino students.

More than 40 percent of Latinos in Oregon have earned less than a high school diploma, compared to only 9 percent of their white counterparts.

Additionally, only 23 percent of Latinos have some college or Associate Degree, only 12 percent have a Bachelor's Degree or higher. These numbers compare to 36 percent and 31 percent for their white counterparts, respectively.

"Oregon needs to pass Senate Bill 1563 to keep these opportunities alive, so young people have a reason to finish high school and have an opportunity to meet their potential," she finished. "We just want to find the chance to do what we were meant to do."

Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook a www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist.

Dick Durbin: It's unlikely we'll reach a DACA deal, but 'I don't see a government shutdown coming'

Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday senators are unlikely to reach an immigration deal before government funding expires later this week, and there won’t be another partial government shutdown over the issue.

“There is not likely to be a DACA deal, though we're working every single day on telephone calls and person to person to try to reach this bipartisan agreement,” said Durbin, D-Ill., the second-ranked Democrat, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union." "I don't see a government shutdown coming.”

Durbin said he is encouraged about negotiations occurring between moderate Democrats and Republicans...
 
Trump announced last year that he would end the DACA program, and he gave Congress until March 5 to address the status of the immigrants, known as “Dreamers.”
 
Durbin said lawmakers are unlikely to reach a deal before Feb. 8...

Parts of the government temporarily shut down last month...

The government shutdown ended when Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, said he received a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to allow debate and a vote on an immigration bill.

“We're making real progress,” Durbin said. “I want to salute the moderates in both the Republicans' and Democratic caucuses in the Senate. I do see a promise by Sen. McConnell to finally bring this critical issue that effects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in America, finally bringing it to a full debate in the Senate. That's what we were looking for when there was a shutdown. We have achieved that goal. We're moving forward.”

The White House has said President Trump won’t sign an immigration bill unless it also funds a border wall and changes other parts of the immigration system, such as ending the visa lottery program and limiting family-based immigration.

Congressman Ron Wyden holding Towhall meetings this weekend

Alert date: 
2018-02-02
Alert body: 

Have something to say to Congressman Ron Wyden? He would like to see you at one of his upcoming Townhall Meetings this weekend.

Saturday, Feb. 3 - starts at 11:30 am
Astoria High School Auditorium
1001 W Marine Dr., Astoria, OR 97103
 
and
 
Saturday, Feb. 3, starts at 4 pm
Port of Tillamook Bay, Officers Mess Hall
6825 Officer's Row, Tillamook, OR 97141
 
-------------
 
Sunday, Feb. 4 - starts Noon
Century High School Gymnasium
2000 SE Century Blvd., Hillsboro, OR 97123
 
If you attend, please email van@numbersusa.com a brief description of your interaction and the immigration-related discussion. Or, call OFIR at 503.435.0141 and tell us about it.
 
Talking Points for your consideration:
 
You were responsible for shutting down the federal government, not Republicans. And for what? To amnesty illegal aliens. You're playing a destructive political game. You knew negotiations were ongoing. Do not vote for another shutdown.
 
You are pushing a legalization for so-called Dreamers but don't care what caused these young people to be in the country illegally in the first place. Their parents brought them while seeking to work here illegally. We'll be in this situation again unless we make it hard for employers to hire unlawful workers. That's why I want you to support mandatory E-Verify workplace eligibility checks for all employers. Don't subject another generation of young people to the same situation.
 
Our immigration system should help American workers get a decent pay raise and have a higher standard of living. That's why Sen. Tom Cotton introduced the RAISE Act, which would cut legal immigration from about one million per year to 500,000. I strongly support the bill because it will reduce job competition, including for the 50 million working-age Americans not in the workforce. Please co-sponsor the RAISE Act. Stand with American workers, not anti-American business owners who want more job competition to reduce wages.
 
The Visa Lottery must be terminated because it threatens our national security, as evidenced by the October 31 New York City terrorist attack by lottery winner Sayfullo Saipov. The program is fraud-ridden, because it has low application standards, and draws from nations that are state sponsors of terror or are known to harbor terrorist organizations. This dangerous combination made the program the subject of numerous congressional oversight hearings and a target for repeal. Please support a repeal of the Visa Lottery.
 
A biometric entry/exit system was a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission after it learned that several of the hijackers had overstayed their visas. But despite Congressional approval and funding, the last two administrations failed to implement this essential system for tracking and removing visa over-stayers. There is no excuse for further delays in these dangerous times, so I want you to help get this done.

 

PCC opens center for 'Dreamers,' other undocumented students at Rock Creek Campus

The state's largest college opened a new center last week specifically to help support students who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Portland Community College officially opened the door Jan. 22 to its DACA Resource Center at the school's Rock Creek campus on the west side. The school says it's the first center of its kind in the state.  ... undocumented students brought to the United States as children, commonly referred to as Dreamers.

"At PCC, we recognize that dreamer students face unique barriers that require additional mental, emotional and financial support," Liliana Luna, Rock Creek's Multicultural Center coordinator and a DACA recipient said in a statement. "The new DREAM Center focuses on the empowerment, support and retention of dreamers and their families." 

...The $50,000 effort is backed by the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative.

DACA recipients with work permits face a March 5 deadline for renewal...

There was no promise to DACA recipients

 
Democrats and allies rail against “breaking a promise” to DACA recipients who, they say, were led to believe they’d be shielded from deportation indefinitely, allowed to work and benefit from all public services.  Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle argues at length how “unfair” it is to “pull the rug out from under them.”
 
But Pres. Obama said repeatedly that he had no Constitutional authority to provide an amnesty, and he made plain that DACA was a temporary program – subject to change or termination by future Administrations.
 
Dreamers are portrayed in the media sympathetically, with glowing reports about the valedictorians and other achievers.  We’re not supposed to notice the criminals  among them.  However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said that just this year, 622 have had their deferred action status pulled due to criminal activity, a 30% surge over previous years.
 
Any illegal alien is eligible for DACA if when illegally entering the U.S., he/she was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, so the eligibility group consists mainly of adults, not children.
 
How can the date of entry be proven without expensive investigation?  So, applications were accepted without proper verification or interviews.  There likely is widespread fraud.
 
Most people don’t realize the consequences of mass amnesties.  Each immigrant can petition to bring in extended family members, and each one of those can then petition to bring in his or her family members in an endless chain.  While Oregon and other states are struggling to keep up with population growth’s effects, we should not be adding millions more people through overly generous immigration policies.
 
PolitiFact erred in claiming that amnesty for DACA recipients would not result in a huge wave of extended family immigrants, because that estimate was based on the number of persons currently enrolled in DACA.  However, the proposal is to amnesty all who are DACA-eligible, a much larger number, estimated to be 1.76 million.  Statistics show that each new immigrant in recent years has sponsored an average of 3.45 additional immigrants.  In the most recent five-year cohort of immigrants studied (1996-2000), each new Mexican immigrant sponsored 6.38 additional legal immigrants.
 
The parents of DACA “children” brought them here illegally; the entire family illegally here should be deported together, thus not “tearing families apart.”  
 
Public discussion of this amnesty has already triggered an increase in illegal border crossings. 
 
Illegal immigration enables employers to get cheap, exploitable labor, reducing job opportunities for citizens and depressing their wages, leading to greater need for financial assistance to poor families, homelessness and desperation among citizens.  Nearly one-in-four Americans of working-age does not have a job, according to government data.
 
The worst thing to do in the present situation is to pass yet another amnesty for illegal aliens.  Rolling amnesties over recent decades have undermined respect for immigration law and all law generally.  Americans’ historic respect for law is what enabled the U.S. to achieve the prosperity, cohesion, and stability that set us apart from many other countries.
 
The DACA “youths,” now many in their 30’s, should return to the countries where they are citizens and help those countries develop acceptable living conditions.

President’s actions could end with deportation of MHS grad

As a middle school student, Hugo Nicolas made a vow to himself.

“I told myself that even if people reject me or deny me things, I will still do my best to uphold the values of this country. I would like to help this nation be better because it gave me so many opportunities and helped me see the world in a different way,” Nicolas said. “Right now, it’s hard because I love this country. It’s just so bittersweet. My emotions are mixed.”

In August 2012, two months after graduating from McNary High School, Nicolas enrolled in a then-new program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), authorized through executive action by President Barack Obama. DACA did not confer or create a path to citizenship for undocumented children brought to the United States before their 16th birthdays, but it was a huge shift for Nicolas. At age 11, he walked across a desert hand-in-hand with his mother, through a barbed wire fence and into the United States.

In exchange for registering under DACA, the federal government agreed not to deport Nicolas and allowed him to apply for a renewable two-year work permit. The permit came with a social security number that meant he could be paid above-the-table and enjoy the protections afforded other American workers.

“I was excited about the things I could do like being able to go to college, being able to drive, being able to travel within the United States, being able to contribute and really get involved. I felt empowered to basically have no obstacles,” Nicolas said.

Last week, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions slapped an expiration date on Nicolas’ American dreams. DACA privileges will be rescinded for Nicolas and 800,000 other undocumented youths, collectively known as Dreamers, registered through the program. Their best hope now is Congress coming up with an alternative by March 5, 2018. In the wake of the action by the Trump administration, Oregon joined 14 other states and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit to block the termination of the program. Another suit to stop the DACA wind down was filed by three additional states on Monday, Sept. 11.

While those lawsuits travel through the judicial system, Nicolas and his younger brother and sister, who are also registered through DACA, are recalibrating their plans.

Last year, Nicolas decided to take time off from earning his degree at the University of Oregon to focus on saving money if Trump’s campaign promises to end DACA ever came to fruition. With some of the money he and his brother were socking away, they planned to purchase their father a new car, maybe even a new home for their parents. His family sold their car to afford the fees and attorney costs associated with Hugo’s initial DACA application.

“All that’s kind of on-hold now,” Nicolas said.

But, truthfully, the impact of Trump’s words began having an effect on Nicolas long before it was announced DACA would be rescinded.

“I feel like he is trying to paint a picture of immigrants as bad people who are only bringing crime and other problems. It’s totally the opposite of what we have done with deferred action,” Nicolas said. Nicolas is currently working as a personal banker with plans to start earning his investment licenses this month. “It has also made me pay more attention to the announcements coming from the administration every week. I have to be aware and more careful with all the changes that are happening.”

Between the president’s words and actions and the vocal support of both from his fans, Nicolas finds himself questioning how others view him and more driven to tell his story, the crux of which is in that middle school vow.

Even then, Nicolas wanted to go to college. He had his sights on a military or Ivy League school. His undocumented status would have stood in the way of both.

“Thinking about college in high school was depressing and I felt so ashamed,” he said. Still, he wanted to prove his value.

At McNary, Nicolas was a star pupil and an athlete. If there was a project that needed volunteers, he would usually be found on the site. He was a Keizer Fire District Explorer, a Keizer Police Department Cadet, and even served as the youth councilor to the Keizer City Council.

“Being undocumented, there is risk in everything you do – even if you are doing something good,” Nicolas said.

It was the last post, in 2012, where things began to unravel a bit. Near the end of his year as youth councilor, someone alerted the city council to Nicolas’ undocumented status. It prompted councilors to propose a policy change that would bar non-citizens from taking on the youth councilor position. Despite public outcry in council chambers, the “Hugo Rule” was approved. The rule still stands, but was tweaked for exchange students to be part of the youth councilor program.

Once he registered for Deferred Action, the college door swung open. He started taking classes at Chemeketa while working three jobs, eventually transferring to the University of Oregon.

“I could finally stand up and show what I could do if people allowed me that opportunity. I also knew that I was following a procedure and didn’t have to worry about what would happen tomorrow,” he said.

Nicolas is altering some of his plans, but he is also feeling a renewed sense of purpose. He bristles at the language used by Trump and Sessions when talking about immigrants.

“The way Jeff Sessions talked about Dreamers made us sound like criminals and not contributing. We’re teachers and nurses and attorneys and bankers. If someone needs representation and can’t afford it or needs tuition assistance, there is a whole group that chips in to help support them,” he said.

He is reconsidering his plans for taking a year off school with the notion that finishing his education is it’s own form of rebelling against the labels some would stick on him.

Deferred Action recipients have also found resilience in numbers.

“We’re more politically involved than we were and we’ve become more united because we can travel and learn from each other,” he said.

For those who want to help prevent DACA from winding down, Nicolas said there are two ways to act locally. First, contact Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, and tell him you support the Dreamers. Oregon’s other representatives and senators have already voiced their support.

The second is more personal and, potentially, more of a challenge: be vocal in your support of Dreamers wherever you go.

“When Trump is saying things about immigrants that are not true, it makes me hold back more because I don’t know if that’s the way people really see me,” he said. “When I see someone who never supported immigration reform now offering encouragement, that means everything.”
 

Trump reverses promise to "immediately terminate" Obama's executive amnesty

Despite his pledge to #forgottenAmericans, @realDonaldTrump has issued more than 100,000 work permits to foreign workers in U.S. illegally.

Last night, his administration expressed its intention to issue more.

Three days ago, acting ICE director, Thomas D. Homan told the House Appropriations committee that regarding enforcement, "no population is off the table" and deportation orders would no longer be ignored. "I don't know where else in the American justice system any other agency is told to ignore a judge's ruling," he said.

Last night, however, DHS announced that it will continue to honor President Obama's 2012 executive amnesty (DACA), saying that "DACA recipients will continue to be eligible" for the program and "No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates."

"Trump Will Allow 'Dreamers' to Stay in U.S., Reversing Campaign Promise" - New York Times
"Trump won't alter status of current Dreamers" - Politico

In a speech last August @realDonaldTrump pledged to "immediately terminate President Obama's two illegal executive amnesties": DACA and DAPA.

Instead of ending DACA, DHS announced that it was officially rescinding Obama's 2014 executive amnesty (DAPA), which had never been enacted.

"Trump scraps Obama-era program protecting undocumented parents" - McClatchy

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to implement the active executive amnesty. Last month, Trump's nominee to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told Congress he expected the Trump administration to continue to issue work permits through DACA:

"I'm aware that both the president and Secretary Kelly have stated publicly and reiterated that the DACA program is to remain in place...

"...If confirmed, I would see my role to administer that program well, as it stands."

In his inauguration speech, @realDonaldTrump pledged that "Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families."

Two of every 5 Millennials of all ethnicities under age 30 with no college degree have no job of any kind. But Trump and Obama's DACA program grants work permits to people in the U.S. illegally who came to the U.S. before age 16 and were born after June 14, 1981.

Politico reports:

"One prominent Democrat said he'd extracted a promise not to alter the current protections for so-called Dreamers.

"'I'm grateful that President Trump has decided to keep the DACA program in place,' Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on the Senate floor Thursday. 'Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Nominee Francis Cissna have promised me personally and publicly that they will maintain the existing guidelines for the DACA program. I appreciate the commitment and intend to hold them to it.'

"Since Trump took office, renewal of expiring DACA permits appears to have continued as normal. More than 17,000 new approvals took place between January and March and more than 107,000 existing DACA recipients had their work permits renewed for an additional two years."

DACA and Deportations - what really happened

It would seem that if one were in a foreign country illegally and then were fortunate enough to be given a special "DACA" status and allowed to remain in the country, they would follow every law and obey every rule to maintain their protected status. 

It seems, however, that Juan Manual Montes decided the rules didn't apply to him.  He was caught sneaking back into the country after leaving to visit his girlfriend in Mexico.  Find out more.

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